Cathay Pacific is set to resume passenger flights between Hong Kong and Auckland on June 4 after halting them due to COVID-19.
The Hong Kong-based airline has been operating cargo only flights and very limited passenger services during the pandemic, but will add two passenger services between the cities in June and plans to add more as demand subsequently grows.
The announcement comes shortly after Hong Kong announced a lift on travel bans and a reduction in quarantine time for travellers arriving in the city, as well as Aotearoa relaxing its COVID-19 regulations for travellers.
Cathay Pacific's June schedule:
- Auckland-Hong Kong - Saturday, June 6 and Saturday, June 20 - Flight number: CX113
- Hong Kong-Auckland - Saturday, June 4 and Saturday, June 18 - Flight number: CX198
These services will be operated on Airbus A350-1000s, one of the most advanced passenger planes in the world.
In addition, Cathay Pacific continues to offer weekly Air New Zealand codeshare flights on the same route.
Richard Jones, the airline's regional acting head of South West Pacific, said it's "fantastic to be coming back to New Zealand and once again be able to offer our customers the superior service Cathay Pacific is known for".
However, despite the relaxing of COVID-19 travel restrictions, he reminded customers that many remain in place.
"We know a lot of people are eager to jump on a plane to reconnect with long-missed friends and family, but there will be a few changes people need to consider. Masks will need to be worn in the cabin when seated and when moving around, and most countries still require a negative PCR test result pre-departure," said Jones.
"Entry requirements will differ in each destination so it is important that customers research what's required well ahead of time and we strongly suggest they check in via the Cathay Pacific website 48 hours in advance."
Cathay Pacific relaunching the Hong Kong-Auckland route is the latest step in the air travel industry's slow COVID recovery process for Aotearoa.
As well as foreign airlines restarting local operations, Air NZ has been ramping up its international services and will launch its long-awaited Auckland-New York route later this year.